Instagram reveals Layout, its own photo collage app

If you've ever seen a collage in your Instagram feed, it was likely created by one of several third-party apps -- Diptic and Framatic are a couple that spring to mind -- that let you arrange multiple photos in a variety of grids. Now Instagram will let you do that with its very own layout app appropriately called, well, Layout. Much like Hyperlapse, Layout exists as a standalone app separate from the core Instagram offering. It's iOS-only for now, though an Android version should be available in a few months.

Once you launch Layout, the app takes you straight to the camera roll. At this point, most of the other aforementioned apps would ask you to select a grid before choosing your photos, which the Instagram team thought didn't make much sense. Layout, instead, lets you choose the photos first -- you can opt for as many as nine different photos to put in your collage. Also, while other apps add borders around the images, Layout foregoes them for a more seamless look.

As you pick your images, different layouts will appear dynamically at the top of the screen, organizing the photos in a way that the app deems best. You can of course go ahead and swap them around if you don't like the options -- there's also a Replace button that'll let you easily supplant a photo with another. You're also able to resize, mirror and flip the images if you like.

As Instagram was developing this app, it found that most of the collages on its service were of people, usually of family and friends. So aside from creating collages from just your recent images, Layout also has a Faces tab that'll surface the photos in your camera roll that have faces in them -- it uses Apple's iOS SDK for face detection to do this. As you pick the different photos with faces, the app is then smart enough to center the face in the frame.

Last but not least, the Layout app comes with a Photo Booth feature that lets you take four selfies in quick succession. You could stay still the whole time, of course, but the idea is to move the phone around in between each shot in order to capture unique angles for the collage. Once you're satisfied with your collage creation and you hit Save, you'll then be prompted to either send it to Instagram, Facebook or another supported iOS app.

Keen to show off the creative potential of Layout, the Instagram team created a slew of collages using the app that demonstrate all the cool things you can do with it. You can check them out in the gallery above, and if you feel like creating your own, you can go ahead and download it starting today.